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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 06:28 GMT

Ready to face familiar foe
Paul Collingwood
By Paul Collingwood
England all-rounder

I can't emphasise enough what beating Pakistan meant to us.

After our struggles in Australia, and the troubled build-up to this World Cup, it meant everything to show people that we really can win this tournament.

But there's no point in winning games like that and then going into the next one and slipping up.

Yours truly meets a Zulu warrior in Durban
We're ready for anything

I've said all along that we go into every game imagining that we're playing Australia, and if we reach the standards needed to beat the best side in the world, it will certainly be enough for the rest.

We have played India a fair number of times over the past year, so we know all about their strengths and weaknesses.

One thing we won't be doing is concentrating our attention on Sachin Tendulkar.

He's a special batsman - so difficult to bowl to - but we know what it's like to get them five down relatively cheaply and then see them chase down 326.

I played in that NatWest Series final at Lord's last summer and can remember the feeling all too well.

So we'll be concentrating on exactly the same areas as we did against Pakistan.

We kept our heads when we batted and eventually scored 20 runs more than we targeted at the fall of the fifth wicket.

I played my part in that process, but it was in the bowling that we won the match.

Sure, it swung around a bit but you still have to put the ball in the right areas.

We got ourselves into a winning position and then got on top of them.

India are welcomed at their hotel
We won't be giving Tendulkar any special treatment

It sounds basic, but that's our plan for India.

We know a thing or two about most of their batsmen - and they'll no doubt be saying the same thing about ours.

It will be about who makes the fewest mistakes on the night.

As for batting under lights, we're slowly getting more experienced at the skill and it's important that we do.

Other teams have so much more exposure to it.

There are more floodlit matches in domestic cricket back home now but the advantage to batting first and then bowling under lights in England, when the dew comes to the surface, is too great.

It definitely helped us that we batted first at Newlands - and I imagine we'll do the same if we win the toss against India - but in hotter climates, like South Africa, it is not as big an issue as it is in England.

One thing floodlit cricket does give you, however, is atmosphere and the buzz on Saturday night was fantastic.

It was virtually a home game for us, given the support, and it was great to give something back.

Throughout the tour of Australia the supporters did not slag us off once.

They had something to cheer about when we won a Test in Sydney, but this time we plan to give them a show when we're still in with a shout of winning a trophy.

Links to more England stories


Morale running high
23 Feb 03 |  England
World Cup starts with Pakistan
21 Feb 03 |  England
England players backing Nasser
18 Feb 03 |  England
Every game crucial now
15 Feb 03 |  England
Focus back on cricket
13 Feb 03 |  England
Rested and ready to go
07 Feb 03 |  England

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